Abstract: The Association between Co-Occurrence of Adolescent Digital Dating Victimization and Perpetration on Sexual Risk Practices Among Central Ugandan Adolescents (Society for Social Work and Research 27th Annual Conference - Social Work Science and Complex Problems: Battling Inequities + Building Solutions)

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340P The Association between Co-Occurrence of Adolescent Digital Dating Victimization and Perpetration on Sexual Risk Practices Among Central Ugandan Adolescents

Friday, January 13, 2023
Phoenix C, 3rd Level (Sheraton Phoenix Downtown)
* noted as presenting author
Moses Okumu, PhD, Assistant Professor, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, Urbana, IL
Cedrick Joseph Wabwire, MA, Research Coordinator, Uganda Christian University, Mukono, Uganda
David Ansong, Ph.D., Associate Professor, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, NC
Isaac Koomson, PhD, Postdoctoral Research Fellow, University of New England, Armidale, NSW, Australia
Eusebius Small, PhD, Associate Professor, University of Texas at Arlington, Arlington, TX
Background and Purpose: Rapid spread of the digital technologies have facilitated the emergence of a new form of adolescent dating violence (i.e., adolescent digital dating violence). Adolescent digital dating violence (ADDV), the use of digital media to monitor, control, threaten, harass, pressure, or coerce a dating partner is a rising public health concern with detrimental effects to physical, mental, and sexual health of the survivors. Current evidence focuses on the nature of ADDV among young adults in high-income countries, ignoring the continuum of violence were adolescents may be both a perpetrator or a victim/survivor. Knowledge gaps exist on how experiences of multiple forms of ADDV are associated with sexual risk practices, especially in contexts such as Uganda were there is rapid adoption of mobile technologies, high prevalence of dating violence and HIV among adolescents. There is an urgent need for research that explores ADV enacted online or via technology to inform intervention development. Guided by the cultures of violence theory, the current study explores 1) the prevalence of adolescent digital dating violence among Ugandan adolescents; and 2) how experiences of concurrent victimization and perpetration of adolescent digital dating violence are associated with sexual risk practices (i.e., transactional sex engagement, sex under the influence of alcohol, and sexual coercion).

Method: Data for this study are drawn from a school-based cross-sectional probability sample of adolescents (n=519) in central Uganda. Adolescent digital dating violence was assessed using a modified six-item conflict tactic scale that embedded language around technology in questions associated with the tactic. In our analysis, we assume that an individual’s sexual risk experiences are not mutually exclusive but usually occur simultaneously in reality. To model this, we employ the multivariate probit technique which simultaneously estimates the probability of engaging in multiple sexual risk practices conditioned on the same set of explanatory variables.

Results: Participants’ age ranged from 14 to 19 years (M=17 years, SD=1.18). Most participants were female (62.8%). Among the sampled respondents, 21.8% experienced victimization and 20.2% were perpetrators of adolescent digital dating violence. Specifically, 3.6% reported being victim-only, 3.9% reported being perpetrator-only while 16.9% reported co-current victimization and perpetration. Compared with no exposure, co-current victimization and perpetration of adolescent digital dating violence were significantly associated with transactional sex engagement (β = .70, p = .002), sexual coercion (β = .94, p = .0001) and sex under the influence of alcohol (β = 1.24, p = .0001).

Conclusion: The finding show that adolescent digital dating violence is prevalent among Uganda adolescents, and is associated with sexual risk practices, speaking to the need for adolescent dating violence and sexual health interventions to include components of adolescent dating digital violence.